Be responsible, be safe
The Safety First Association has issued a number of guidelines on how to ensure a safe work environment.
The internal responsibility system requires everyone, from the chief executive officer down to the shop floor, to make good occupational health and safety practices part of everything they do at work.
Because employers have the greatest degree of control over the workplace, they have the most responsibility for providing a healthy and safe workplace. However, that does not relieve employees from their responsibility to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others from workplace hazards.
An employer’s safety responsibilities
Employers should: provide a safe workplace; identify all hazards and inform and train employees in the appropriate protective measures; make a policy statement regarding accident prevention, if required to do so; maintain an ongoing safety programme; provide medical and first aid systems; provide adequate budgets for all safety-related objectives; and comply with the relevant Occupational Health and Safety and other legislation, regulations, standards and procedures.
Responsibility of management
Management should establish the framework for a safety management structure and convince and influence the employees to support it. The successful implementation of this, by way of controlling workplace risks, depends upon the commitment of employees to the careful consideration and application of the safety measures related to their work.
This contribution is essential at all levels of the organisation from policy formulation and planning of work to the actual execution of the tasks. This philosophy is enshrined in a range of safety codes, principles or procedures as applicable in various industries.
Management must make it clear to all employees that they are expected to follow all safety rules, procedures and instructions. Although it is a legal requirement for employers to enforce the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) or other measures that have to be implemented in the interest of safety, getting employee support and buy-in makes achieving a healthy and safe workplace much easier.
Responsibility of supervisors
Supervisors must lead and follow health and safety policies, practices and procedures. Occupational health and safety is a line management function and supervisors must, therefore, make sure workers under their control adhere to the requirements for achieving a healthy and safe workplace by supervising, motivating and disciplining them.
• Develop safe work procedures in conjunction with relevant persons and involve experienced and knowledgeable workers in the process;
• Provide adequate supervision through technical guidance and support;
• Identify and control hazardous conditions; • ?Provide appropriate facilities for safe storage, handling and transport of hazardous substances;
• Ensure that all accidents, occupational illnesses, near misses and injuries are investigated and reported;
• Instruct and train workers to follow health and safety policies, practices and procedures;
• Enforce company health and safety policies, practices, and procedures;
• Ensure necessary personal protective equipment is provided and properly used by workers;
• Understand proper emergency procedures and ensure workers follow them when necessary;
• Where appropriate, know about the safe handling, use, storage, production and disposal of chemical and biological substances;
• Control health and safety hazards;
• Ensure that only authorised and properly trained workers operate equipment;
• Inspect the work area and take corrective action to minimise or eliminate hazards; and • ?Promote proper health and safety practices among workers.